Leslie Leyland Fields ["The Myth of the Perfect Parent," January] is right: The best parenting techniques don't produce Christian children. Praise God that it doesn't depend on us.
Before our four children were born, my husband and I prayed that they would live for God. We prayed the same for our 11 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild. I believe that, by God's grace, all of them have mine written on them in his handwriting. After 57 years of parenting, we have tried to be like the man who scatters seed on the ground (Mark 4:26-27), trusting that God will make the good seed sprout and grow, even though each child will receive it in different ways.
Santa Ana, California
I wish that every Christian parent in America could read Christianity Today's January cover essay. A few months ago I would have patted myself on the back for raising three outstanding 20-somethings. Then my oldest son called me and broke my heart. We both wept. It took a lot more talking for us to come to a place of reconciliation. But how much better to relate honestly for the first time in years. And, more importantly, how vital to see my son for the young man he is instead of the false image the two of us had created.
I love my son more than ever. And I see my heavenly Father in a whole new light. Anonymous
Sex & the Older Single
January's Village Green, on "What's the best way to encourage people to save sex for marriage?" missed on a couple points. The word young should have come before people, as the column ignored the realities of older single adulthood. Most church leaders are married men who don't have a clue about the frustrations of long-term celibacy or of missing out on childbearing.
Donna Freitas's "Stop Talking Marriage" made some sense, but the "unfulfilling realities" of hookup culture also exist in long-term celibacy. Some single Christians have jettisoned indefinite abstinence, forming romantic relationships that may or may not involve sex and may or may not lead to marriage.
Celibacy is an extreme form of self-denial. If I had to do it all over again, I'm not sure that I would.
Gwendolyn T. Colvin
Raleigh, North Carolina
While Mark Regnerus's response to the abstinence question was a bit short on application, it did offer a necessary premise: The church is wrong when it accepts the cultural attitude that young marriage is bad. He rightly notes that the job of local congregations is to help young people discern God's will for their lives. Not all will be called to marry, but most will.
We in the West have forgotten how to live, and the church is complicit in this cultural amnesia. Our woes, however, are self-correcting: Cultures that do not foster healthy families collapse, and others with better family values replace them.
The Source of Bad Stats
Kudos for publishing the long-overdue survey of American religious research ["Chicken Little Was Wrong," January]. Ed Stetzer correctly notes the dangers of drawing conclusions from research that may not apply to the larger public or various subgroups therein.
Stetzer didn't address the widely reported research of the Barna Group. One of Barna's most publicized findings has been the decline of church leaders with a biblical worldview. One oft-quoted statistic: Only 71 percent of Southern Baptist pastors have a biblical worldview. That is impossible. The alternative? There must be something wrong with the way the concept is measured. The survey that measures biblical worldview includes eight statements. The person being surveyed must agree with all of them to classify as someone with a biblical worldview. Disagree with one, and you don't have a biblical worldview.